Families of 43 fishermen, who had been imprisoned in Sri Lanka on charges of trespass, laid siege to the office of Regional Deputy Director of Fisheries, Ramanathapuram district on Monday appealing to the authorities to initiate steps for release and return of their kin at least before Pongal.
P Jesuraja, president, All Mechanised Boats Fishermen Association, Ramanathapuram, who took part in the agitation, said 43 fishermen from Thangachimadam, who ventured into sea by six mechanised boats on December 18, were arrested by the Lankan Navy and jailed in the island nation. Their bail petitions are expected to be heard in the Jaffna High Court on January 13. Everyone expect their release and returning home to celebrate Pongal with their families. Foremost among the demands is to release those detained TN fishermen and also to release their boats.
E Kathavarayan, Regional Deputy Director of Fisheries, pacified the crowd saying the government is making efforts to ensure their early release. The crowd then dispersed, sources said.
9 fishermen return
Meanwhile, nine out of 12 fishermen from Mandapam who were released by Sri Lankan authorities reached Chennai airport on Monday. Last week all the 12 fishermen were released from the prison and they were handed to the Indian embassy in Sri Lanka. The fishermen were asked to appear for the RT-PCR test and for those tested negative the embassy arranged tickets and they reached Chennai airport at 4.30 am on Monday.
Officials from the Fisheries Department welcomed the fishermen and made arrangements for transport to them for reaching their hometown.